We have a list of Nigeria’s top 10 GREATEST hip hop artistes ever, and it's a compilation by the legend himself – Jude ‘MI’ Abaga.
Prior to this time, hip hop in Nigeria was uncharted waters for many reasons, top amongst them being its inability to convert to sales in an industry that was hardly favourably disposed to it.
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But when Jude Abaga walked in the scene and put out the phenomenal ‘Talk About It’ in 2008, industry bigwigs sat up and shuffled the cheques a second time; creating a whole new provision for hip hop, a provision bigger than the earlier Rugged Man-Eedris Abdulkareem-Mode9 tier previously enjoyed.
However, the preferences still stood for other genres as Afro Pop and dance music vis-à-vis hip hop through the Talk About It-2008 era into early 2010 when the unsung hero, DaGrin, came through with ‘Chief Executive Omo Ita’ and left a little too soon.
The gigs still embraced dance artists for the most parts, according them sizeable portions of mainstream buzz. But not anymore.
Today, acts like Olamide and Phyno (though having fought personal, laudable battles of putting indigenous hip hop on again after not-so-successful efforts from 2Phat, Lord Of Ajasa and co) alongside Reminisce, Skales, Vector, Falz, Ice Prince, IllBliss and dozens more can lay claim to titles and mega cheques, as they cream off completely on the MI Abaga palette.
Having established proof of his skills and genius with more stellar projects –Illegal Music (2009), M.I 2 (2010), Illegal Music 2 (2012) and The Chairman (2014)– there really isn’t so much explaining needed if we call the man a legend in the game today.
For one who ‘came into Lagos with a back pack, a laptop and nothing more’ (in his words); and has risen this far from making and selling music that was earlier seen as being off the beaten path, his has been quite the feat.
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And so when Legit.ng met up with him at his Gbagada, Lagos office recently, the conversation was intense. It was revealing, as well as engaging on many levels.
Abaga touched on a whole lot, and when we asked for his list of Nigeria’s top 10 greatest hip hop artistes ever, he listed in this particular order;
'Other notable mentions include but aren’t limited to; Jesse Jagz, IllBliss, Terry Tha Rapman, Nigga Raw, Overdose (OD), 2Shotz, Falz, Sauce Kid and Reminisce, amongst others', MI concluded.
MI Abaga is a Nigerian rapper, record producer and a record label executive at urban music label - Chocolate City Music.